I can’t believe that I’m finally turning 35 years old today.
If you have been following and reading my blog, you would probably have known how significant this number is for me. After all, I started this blog more than ten years ago with a vision and mission statement (or whatever you want to call it) that the race and pursuit towards financial independence were on and I gave myself a ten years timeframe to achieve or at least get close to it by the time I turn 35.
The past birthday edition articles can be found below:
This blog has been my companion almost through my entire adult life experience which includes a few of the successes but also the hiccups along the way. When I looked back at the past 10 to 12 years, it has been rather fascinating to see milestones unlocked such as journaling my first portfolio updates, hitting my first $100k when I turned 27, handling expenses after marriage, the addition to our family members, buying our first property home, and then achieving the equity reach of $250k milestone, $500k milestone, $750k milestone and $1m milestone respectively before we decided to invest in a second property which we currently let out for rental income. I also documented the unfortunate episode of how my Dad got a stroke last year and we had to fork out a $200k bill for his hospitalization expenses.
If you are a new reader that chanced and came across this for the very first time, chances are good that you’re looking to escape the corporate rat race, like I did years ago.
Since I started writing this blog, my main thesis for achieving financial independence as soon as possible has been on the premise that working for an employer generally sucks. The night burning and years of stresses that come with it have been building up and because of this, I’ve been putting my aggressive hat for the past ten years focusing on many financial aspects that would accelerate my net worth so that I could one day “escape” if I wanted to.
Maybe it’s a common theme that you find comfort in realizing that there is someone else out there who felt the same as you do right now. Perhaps, at one point in your life, you really like working for your company. You were good at what you do and think you’d devote your entire life and soul to the company until you realize that some external circumstances like COVID crashed the dreams both you and the company once had.
Most of these dreams are built upon the assumption that everything is going to take care of itself, so most people think it is okay to be delaying their financial planning when the sky is clear, consuming an excessive amount of debts to purchase material goods and lifestyle to keep up with the rest of their social media friends.
Inverting To The Middle Ground
I was once the same person like them.
The 5 Pillars of Life – Wealth, Health, Work, Family, and Time (Autonomy) were the entire factors that I wanted to gauge my success.
Each of the 5 pillars started from a low score because I was just not satisfied with how things were then for me. I knew I had to make radical changes to everything I did, including my lifestyle, spending, growing my asset and capital, looking for an employer that can give me more autonomy in doing things, and things that would suit my style for the better.
My health has been generally poor since I was a kid and I was often sick that my parents had to bring me to doctors for frequent cough, flu, or gastric issues.
I’ve also had multiple stress issues due to work in some part of my career which leads to a couple of sleepless nights. It was a horrible feeling and one that I am glad I am finally out of the ecosystem. Hence, because of this, I have ranked my health score as 3.
Pro Tip: There are always better employers around. It might not be immediately available but keep continue looking hard for it. Don’t overstay in a toxic environment that leads to nowhere.
Getting older as the day passes is not a joke.
Since turning 32 a couple of years back, I’ve consciously alerted myself to get a sufficient amount of sleep and exercise. Since COVID started which altered the way we work, I have been scheduling fitness into my calendar. In the morning, I tried to slot in a 45-minute schedule to swim or run (alternate days) before I start my work. After a while, the body gets used to it that the ache started disappearing and it feels different from the body with adrenaline pumped up.
I have also been cautious and consciously adding superfoods to my diet, ordering the likes of blueberry, ginger, walnuts, tomatoes, celery, kale, spinach, green tea, turmeric, and salmon or sardines on my order lists at the shopping cart.
|Morning Breakfast Routine – Oatmeal with eggs, chia seeds, spinach, kale, blueberry, and a follow-up Turmeric or Ginger Drink|
Verdict: Health rating moved up from a score of 4 to 7 out of 10.
Work is the part I dreaded to talk about it the most because this is the main presumption of all the things that are happening that leads to this whole pursuit towards achieving financial independence as soon as possible.
Work used to rank really low in my dashboard because of some really unfortunate experiences that I had in one or two of my previous employers. Perhaps it was an environment that didn’t really sit well with me, which leads to an increased amount of stress built up over time. This, adding on to the morning hour rush commuting of 7-10 hours per week, formal office attire, two young children, a blog to maintain, and a mortgage to finance piled on the stress level for me.
Thankfully, the new way of working due to COVID has changed the most part of this and I must count myself really blessed and lucky to have secured a role right before the whole pandemic season began (speaking of market timing huh).
The new permanent working from home at my current company is a blessing in disguise as I get to escape the morning hour rush, work in my comfortable homey clothes, dictate my own schedule, getting more autonomy, and at the same being able to get some good amount of exercises and interaction with the kids.
|Standing Workplace at Home|
Verdict: Work rating moved up from a score of 3 to 7 out of 10.
Family time used to be restricted to mostly an hour at night and weekends.
I would come and rush home at about 7 to 8ish in the evening to have my wife and kids greeted me waiting for me by the door.
Since the permanent shift towards working from home, things have taken a 180 degrees turn.
For the past couple of months, it is my turn to be the one greeting them by the door in the afternoon at the time they came back from school.
In the evening, we also have time to hang out more and engage in some activities like playing tennis or riding the bicycle before having our dinner together. My kids are also jigsaw puzzles trained so recently we have been challenging each other to do higher each time.
During my off days, I get to sneak out with my wife when our kids are in school to the cafe below our place to chill, at times catching up on writing this blog before fetching the kids back from school.
|Art Drawing We Did Together During The Circuit Breaker|
The wealth financial planning side is doing fine over the years but we are currently rebuilding it on a restart mode after purchasing a second home last year. We pretty much blew out our entire capital used for equities when we used the funds for the property.
The stock market today due to COVID has given a tremendous opportunity for me to build-up once again, given that the STI as of writing is only at around 2500. My goal is to hit an equity minimum of $250k in market value at the end of the year and then possibly looking at $350k when the economy recovers by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, my strategy is to keep piling onto some of the very undervalued names such as Comfortdelgro, Lendlease Reit, CDL Hospitality Trust, Starhill Reit, Jardine C&C, and many others while waiting for the eventual recovery to come. I’ll provide some of these insights more in my next portfolio updates for the month of Sep.
Currently sitting at about $200k worth of stocks at a yield of about 7-8%, it is only giving us about $15k/year in dividend income, on top of the rental income we received. This is still not sustainable on its own as we still have heavy commitments on our liabilities.
|Equity Portfolio: Aug’20|
The CPF portion is one that I rarely talked about because I’m simply letting it accumulate passively for a number of years now.
I’m currently still relying on part of the OA portion for the home mortgages and occasional top-up to the Special and Medisave account every now and then but that’s mainly because of the tax relief. Other than that, I just treat it as my “life insurance” policy to my wife in case anything happened to me.
|12 Years of Working.
10 Years of Top-Up Contributions & Transfer
1.5 Years to FRS Target
Verdict: Wealth rating moved up from a score of 2 to 8 out of 10.
Thank you for all the birthday well-wishes from families, friends, and readers out there.
The last 10 years have been transformational for me for all the steps and direction which I took, and hopefully, it’s the right step too.
I also wanted to thank all the readers for the encouragement and words, and for the journey that some of us took together.
The next 10 years is one which I think will be transformational but one which I really look forward to as well. I haven’t thought of anything major to announce yet but I’d try to pen through as I move along the next phase of my next 10 years going into 45. By then, my kids would have been at college-age so it is quite fascinating yet scary to see how fast time flies.
A Happy Birthday to myself once again.
I’ll start afresh Day 1 tomorrow from my 35th birthday.
P.S: Since I’m sharing the same birth date and month with unarguably the greatest investing guru of all time, Warren Buffet, I’d also like to wish him a happy blessed birthday and a fortune of health.